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FIXMBR Warning - Do I or Don't I?

I have a Toshiba laptop which won't boot all the way into Windows XP.  "It goes the "We Are Sorry For the Inconvenience" screen (with several Windows boot-up options- Normal, Safe-Mode, etc.) but will not go beyond that point--just hangs there.

I booted from the XP Install CD and went into 'R' for repair.  I did a FIXBOOT--no good, still does not boot.  Went back in to try FIXMBR from the command prompt but the warning msg scares me.  It says that all partitions could become unreadable if I proceed.  So, just what is the value of the utility then?

I have important data on that drive.  If I mount it onto my desktop PC via an IDE adapter, I can access the data on it.  I'd like to try to repair the laptop so it does a good boot into XP, rather then reinstall everything, but not sure if I want to risk destroying all data on the disk..  Therefore I am not sure whether I should proceed with the FIXMBR command if the downside is that it won't work AND it will destroy all the readable data on there.

Does anybody have any good advice on whether I should proceed with the FIXMBR, or is it too dangerous to proceed?
4 Solutions
Firstly, you mount that hard drive on desktop & take all data & after that you are using the Recovery Console to Replace the MBRYou can use the fixmbr command in Recovery Console to rewrite the MBR to resolve a corrupted MBR on a startup disk. However, running fixmbr overwrites only the master boot code, leaving the existing partition table intact. If the corruption in the MBR affects the partition table, running fixmbr might not resolve the problem.


Use this command with care because it can damage your partition table if any
of the following apply:
A virus is present and a third-party operating system is installed on the
same computer.
A nonstandard MBR is installed by a third-party disk utility.
A hardware problem exists.
It is recommended that you run antivirus software before you use the fixmbr

If problem is persist so, please format that drive & reinstall windows XP.
greg wardCommented:
If you see the windows boot up options then the mbr is working.
If you have windows xp pro follow this link
Basically you put the windows xp cd into the machine and boot from it you can choose the second repair option. This will reinstall all the default windows files and your machine will be bootable again.

fixmbr itself is not dangerous but it only solves problems of missing mbr or corrupted mbr which are less likely issues of a new laptop. if the laptop has two harddrives i would buy a new disk and install xp on that. be aware that you need to install sata drivers while installing xp if the cd is less than sp3.  if that works you should be able to add the current disk and access your data. if it is only 1 harddisk let copy your disk from some pc shop to an usb external disk.
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fixmbr fixes the master boot record in case it is corrupt.
run it .....
FIXMBR is not dangerous but in your very case it is helpless. You issue is in bad file system or corrupt Boot.ini file. First of all get all the data off the drive and then use repair options. I recommend this free tool with its powerful Boot Corrector: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/rk-express/
There is File Transfer Wizard so you do not need to take the drive off the laptop. Just connect another USB drive, boot from this CD and perform copy.
Then use Boot Corrector to correct Boot.ini, boot record and check if system partition has correct drive letter.
syd_rabinAuthor Commented:
Most contributed good and useful information so I split the points.  Thank You.

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